Take 3: House of the Long Shadows Review

Vincent Price is an actor who has become as much of a household name as the Michael Jackson song he provided the voice-over for, Thriller. Prior to my involvement in the Vincent Price Blogathon, the only film of Vincent’s I have seen is one that is very different from what he is known for: The Whales of August. Last August (me reviewing The Whales of August in August was not intentional), I reviewed that film for the A Month Without the Code Blogathon. Even though I liked Vincent’s performance in that movie, I found the movie itself to be mundane. So, for this current blogathon, I wanted to watch one of Vincent’s films that contained more horror. When I discovered House of the Long Shadows, I was intrigued by the movie’s synopsis. For those of you who have visited my blog before, you would know I enjoy a good mystery from time to time. Because of this film’s mysterious nature, I had hopes to get, at least, some enjoyment out of this project!

House of the Long Shadows poster
House of the Long Shadows poster created by London-Cannon Films and Cannon. Image found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:LongShadows.jpg

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Prior to watching House of the Long Shadows, I haven’t seen many of the projects from Desi Arnaz Jr.’s filmography. In fact, I’ve only watched his guest appearances on I Love Lucy and his special appearance on The Brady Bunch. Despite this, I was impressed with his lead performance in the film! His casual yet effortless acting style worked with how the character was written. Desi’s acting abilities fit the role of the protagonist, Kenneth Magee! I also liked Julie Peasgood’s portrayal of Mary Norton! Her expressions and emotions really highlighted the sense of urgency her character was experiencing. A scene where Julie sold me on what Mary was going through is when Mary first comes to the Manor to warn Kenneth of the unseen dangers he will face. Because this blogathon is dedicated to Vincent Price, his performance should not be overlooked. As I said in the introduction, the only other film of his that I’ve seen is The Whales of August. The great thing about House of the Long Shadows is how Vincent is given more material to work with as an actor. This allowed him and his character to have a more commanding presence!

 

The use of music: The music that can be heard in the film’s background does a really good job at keeping the movie’s tone consistent. Throughout Kenneth’s stay at the Manor, scores that sound mysterious, sinister, and even sad are played at various moments of the movie. At times when the tone changes, the music never skips a beat and adapts with the events of the story. A great example is when Kenneth is driving to the train station. When the weather is fair and the sky is sunny, light-hearted music can be heard during Kenneth’s drive. As soon as the skies turn dark and stormy, ominous music takes the place of the previous tune.

 

The element of mystery: For those who haven’t yet seen House of the Long Shadows, I won’t spoil the story. What I will say is the mystery element of the film was well-written! The narrative is presented in a way that allows the audience to solve the mystery alongside Kenneth and Mary. This creates an interactive and shared experience between the characters and the viewers. It also maintains a sense of intrigue throughout the movie. As the story unfolds, it makes the audience wonder what will happen next.

Terrified friends watching horror movie in cinema
Scared audience image created by Katemangostar at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/terrified-friends-watching-horror-movie-in-cinema_1027311.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/people”>People image created by Katemangostar – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

A limited use of horror: Vincent Price is an actor who is known for starring in horror-esque films. This detail made me believe House of the Long Shadows would be a horror movie. While there are elements of horror to be found, they primarily existed in the film’s second half. The story as a whole placed more emphasis on the element of mystery. This made the movie not as scary as I expected.

 

Diane and Andrew’s subplot: In House of the Long Shadows, there is a subplot involving a young couple named Diane and Andrew. They are in the area of the Manor due to a vacation gone wrong. While watching this movie, I found their subplot to not be integrated in the overall story as well as the other characters’ stories. If anything, it felt like it was there for the sake of being there.

 

The limited use of lighting: I understand the limited use of lighting was adopted to emphasis the atmosphere of the Manor. Where this succeeds on that regard, it also hides the beauty of the Manor itself. One of the most striking features of this location is the grand staircase. It had visually appealing details, such as the gold ornamentations along the iron bars of the stairs. Unfortunately, it was difficult to see this part of the Manor clearly because there was little to no lighting in this space.

Vincent Price Blogathon banner
The Vincent Price Blogathon banner created by Gill from Realweegiemidget Reviews and Barry from Cinematic Catharsis. Image found at https://weegiemidget.wordpress.com/2020/02/20/vincent-price-blogathon/

My overall impression:

Vincent Price: a name that is, more often than not, associated with projects featuring ghosts, ghouls, and things that go bump in the night. While this has become a part of Vincent’s legacy, it’s important to remember what he offered to the horror genre, as well as the world of film, as an actor. When I watched his performance in House of the Long Shadows, Vincent’s performance reminded me of Bela Lugosi’s performance in the 1931 film, Dracula! Even though both actors are on screen for a certain amount of time, they use their acting abilities to control the camera’s focus and command its undivided attention. As for the film itself, House of the Long Shadows is truly a hidden gem! Despite being different from what I expected, it’s a movie I think fans of mystery, horror and Vincent himself will enjoy! Maybe the final words of this review are nowhere near as memorable as Vincent’s closing monologue in Thriller. But they do have a special place in this post.

 

Overall score: 7.8 out of 10

 

Have you seen any of Vincent Price’s films? If so, which one is your favorite? Tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: One Winter Proposal Review

Last November, I shared with my readers and followers that One Winter Weekend would receive a sequel. At the time, I had mixed feelings about the idea of this film. On the one hand, One Winter Weekend was placed in the Dishonorable Mentions section of my list of the Top 10 Worst Movies I saw in 2018. On the other hand, I thought the best part of One Winter Weekend was Rukiya Bernard and Dewshane Williams’ acting performance, on-screen chemistry, and their characters. But, like I do with every movie I see (and sometimes review), I decided to watch this sequel, One Winter Proposal, with an open mind. However, because I was not a fan of the first movie, my expectations for the sequel were very low. Did I end up liking One Winter Proposal? Keep reading my review if you want to find out!

one winter proposal poster
One Winter Proposal poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.hallmarkchannelpress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=&ShowTitle=One+Winter+Proposal.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: One thing that I liked about One Winter Weekend was the performances of Rukiya Bernard and Dewshane Williams! In fact, I thought their performances were better than Jack Turner and Taylor Cole’s performances. In One Winter Proposal, not only did Rukiya and Dewshane give good acting performances, but Taylor and Jack’s performances were stronger than they were in the first movie! The quality in these acting portrayals helped me stay invested in the characters and their stories. Cardi Wong’s performance in this film was such a pleasant surprise. Ethan, a new character in this series, was a very likable character. If this series does receive a third movie, I hope Ethan makes an appearance.

 

The on-screen chemistry: Both One Winter Weekend and One Winter Proposal are character-driven films. This means that one of the things that this story relies on is the on-screen chemistry of its stars. Like I said earlier, the starring cast did a good job when it came to their acting performances. Each on-screen couple also had really good on-screen chemistry, with both of them appearing as if they truly cared about one another. It was nice to see Megan and Sean spend some time together again, as I really liked seeing their relationship develop and progress over time. I also thought Ben’s proposal to Cara was really sweet and romantic.

 

The connections to the first movie: I really liked the connections to One Winter Weekend that were incorporated in One Winter Proposal. An example of this is the inclusion of the wine charms. When Ben and Cara arrive at the resort, Ben presents Cara with her pineapple wine charm from the first movie. Ben also starts his own snowboard company, which is named “Charmed”. Another example is when Megan and Sean participate in a trivia game. Only this time, they are joined by Sean’s niece. These connections were a good, creative way to give the first film recognition.

508771-pi9sq9-56
Ski lodge during winter-time image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/ski-station-background_3423830.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Lack of conflict: In One Winter Weekend, the main characters not only had to deal with sharing a resort cabin with completer strangers and getting caught in a snowstorm, but they also had to deal with their own personal issues. In One Winter Proposal, there really wasn’t an over-arcing conflict and the characters dealt with very few issues. In fact, the plans in this movie seemed to go more smoothly than in the first movie. The lack of problem-solving made the film a little less interesting.

 

A weaker plot: Like I just mentioned, One Winter Proposal did not have an over-arcing conflict. This movie also didn’t have an over-arcing plot. This caused One Winter Proposal to be fueled on several, smaller stories. These stories felt closer to real-life situations, such as Ben’s business meetings getting cancelled due to last minute interruptions. Because of this creative decision, it made the film feel like a “slice of life” story.

 

Some of the characters’ decisions: There were a few times when a character made a decision that, to me, seemed ridiculous. A perfect example is when Cara decides to create two main characters for her novel that are based on her and Ben, but forgetting that she made this choice until after her book was published. I am more than willing to suspend my disbelief for a Hallmark movie. However, I found decisions like Cara’s to be a little too unbelievable.

Woman in ski suit looks over her shoulder going down the hill on
Snowboarder on the slopes image created by Freepic.diller at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/woman-in-ski-suit-looks-over-her-shoulder-going-down-the-hill-on-her-snowboard_1620624.htm’>Designed by Freepic.diller</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/tree”>Tree image created by Freepic.diller – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Movie sequels from Hallmark can be very hit or miss. Some sequels have been really good, such as Wedding of Dreams. Other sequels ended up being disappointing, like All of My Heart: Inn Love. As a movie, I thought One Winter Proposal was decent. As a sequel, I thought it was better than the first movie! For me, this is a huge improvement as well as a step forward. One Winter Proposal surpassed my very low expectations and I enjoyed the film more than I thought I would. This gives me hope that this particular series could grow into a really good collection of films. So far, I have enjoyed the films that “Winterfest” has offered. I hope that the rest of the films, as well as Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ upcoming films, are just as enjoyable!

 

Overall score: 7 out of 10

 

Did you watch One Winter Proposal? What are your thoughts on “Winterfest” so far? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Word on the Street: Lifetime announces release date for their remake of “The Bad Seed”; Hallmark movie on the way!

Even after Hallmark’s TCA Event has ended, it seems like there are still more Hallmark movie news stories to talk about. No matter what time of year it is, Hallmark knows how to own the spotlight, creating projects that can not only be a big deal, but also keep their audience coming back for more content. In this Word on the Street post, I will be talking about a future movie that was just announced as a Hallmark movie! Another network that is familiar with the movie news spotlight is Lifetime, who just announced an official release date for one of their upcoming films. I will be talking about this exciting news, especially since I first talked the film back in March. Now, let’s talk about some movie news!

45299-O4HTPK
Movie items image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/flat-modern-cinema-elements_847506.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/frame”>Frame vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Recently, Lifetime posted the release date for their upcoming remake of the 1956 film, The Bad Seed. Featured in a special section on Lifetime’s official website, the movie is scheduled to premiere on September 9th. Lifetime also released an official trailer for the film. When I first talked about this movie back in March, I had my doubts about whether it would be anywhere near as terrifying and thought-provoking as the original movie. After watching the trailer, however, I quickly changed my tune. From what I could tell, it looks like this movie is attempting to make the tone of this film as dark as the 1956 film was. Also, it appears that this movie will not hold back any punches, some of the featured scenes indicating more terror than the original film could muster. This trailer has definitely made me more excited for this movie and I’m considering reviewing it on 18 Cinema Lane!

Link to the trailer for The Bad Seed: https://www.mylifetime.com/movies/the-bad-seed/the-bad-seed-preview

Terrified friends watching horror movie in cinema
Scared audience image created by Katemangostar at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/terrified-friends-watching-horror-movie-in-cinema_1027311.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/people”>People image created by Katemangostar – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Kirsten Hansen, known for being a writer on the Hallmark projects Love on the Slopes and Chesapeake Shores, as well as being a producer on the aforementioned show, has recently taken to Instagram to share some good news. In an Instagram post, Kirsten announced that a movie she is writing, called Love Under the Rainbow, was going to air on Hallmark Channel! As of August 2018, there has been no official word on when the movie would premiere or what seasonal line-up the movie could be associated with. On What’s Filming, I remember Love Under the Rainbow being listed on the Vancouver and British Columbia pages, especially when it was in production from March 5th to March 21st. Because the only actors that were officially attached to the project were Jodie Sweetin and David Haydn-Jones, I wasn’t sure which network would distribute the film. Based on the title alone, I have a feeling this movie could be a St. Patrick’s Day themed film. The only St. Patrick’s Day themed Hallmark movie I can think of is Chasing Leprechauns, so it would be interesting if Kirsten’s movie explored a story element that hasn’t been featured on the network in six years.

If you want to check out the sources I referenced in this post, you can go to Kirsten’s official Instagram feed (at kearstegram), Kirsten’s official IMDB page, or this link: http://www.whatsfilming.ca/wrapped/

233200-P2SBE6-483
St. Patrick’s Day image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/st-patrick-s-day-background_1640464.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com. 

What are your thoughts on these movie news stories? Are you planning on watching any of these films? Please tell me what you think in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen